The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is asking produce growers to fill out an annual Grower Questionnaire available now. The questionnaire will help the MDA determine how the federal Produce Safety Rule (PSR) applies to Minnesota produce operations for the upcoming 2020 growing season. Because the sales thresholds that determine a farm’s PSR status are adjusted annually for inflation, the Grower Questionnaire should be filled out once per year, per produce farm. Growers who completed a questionnaire prior to November 2019 should complete this 2020 version with their updated information.
The 2020 questionnaire is available online. Individual responses assist the MDA Produce Safety Program in providing customized information and resources to farmers about their PSR status, along with produce safety information applicable to all produce farmers. The information collected also assists the MDA in better understanding Minnesota’s produce industry – what produce is being grown, the regions in which it is grown, and the markets that are involved.
The privacy of questionnaire respondents is safeguarded; farm contact and location information are classified as private or nonpublic data. Participation in this questionnaire is voluntary. However, produce growers who opt out of the questionnaire will be contacted by the MDA Produce Safety Program via email, phone, or in person to identify their farm status and inspection requirements under the rule.
Fruit and vegetable farmers who grow, pack, harvest and/or hold produce and who do not qualify for an exemption or exclusion from the PSR are required to have at least one employee complete training that uses FDA-recognized curriculum or an equivalent. The MDA Produce Safety Program offers training in conjunction with the University of Minnesota Extension that meets that requirement. Registration is currently open for winter trainings throughout the state. Visit the MDA Produce Safety Program website for more information.